In re Emery

The Pennsylvania Superior Court clarified the application 42 Pa.C.S. § 5505, which limits the time in which a trial court may modify or rescind its order to 30 days. Here, parties to litigation over a decedent’s estate disputed whether certain funds distributed to the beneficiary came from the estate or from a bank account that was not part of the estate. The trial court issued an order directing the executor to distribute about $50,000 to the beneficiary. Later, the executor distributed $25,000 to the beneficiary. Several years after the initial order, the beneficiary filed a rule to show cause to collect the funds owed. He claimed that the $25,000 distributed was unrelated to the $50,000 owed, and he still was awaiting the full balance. The trial court entered an order requiring the executor to distribute the remaining $25,0000 because that amount was the total balance due. The beneficiary appealed, claiming that Section 5505 precluded the court from changing the amount owed from $50,000 to $25,000 and that he was still owed $50,000, not the $25,000 balance reflected in the lower court’s order. The Superior Court agreed with the estate and the trial court. The beneficiary’s rule to show cause necessitated a new order to address the issue, and the order did not amount to a major substantive change. Thus, the three-year lapse between orders did not violate Section 5505.

IN-RE-ESTATE-OF-ROSEMARY